Registered with the Registrar of Newspapers for India under R.N.I 53640/91
Vol. XXVIII No. 24, April 1-15, 2019
The ten-day annual festival of the Kapaliswarar Temple has just got over. As in all its previous editions, this year too saw a grand spectacle unfolding, with the deities being brought out twice daily on various mounts. The temple authorities, the volunteers and the police have more or less perfected the routine and it was a pleasure to see the way the entire event was rolled out. Thousands thronged the Mylapore area to witness the processions. It is these people who now need to improve on their behaviour if this celebration is to be really fit for the Gods.
There was a time when tanneer pandals would be set up at various places for the benefit of pilgrims coming in from afar. What with the weather just beginning to hot up in March, these kiosks are necessary for they also dispense cooling refreshments such as water and buttermilk besides offering the weary a place to rest. Such tanneer pandals are also an integral part of Tamil culture, receiving mention in the 12th Century Periya Puranam itself. It is said that Appoothi Adigal, one of the 63 Nayanmars (Saivite saints), put up such pandals wherever Appar, one of the senior most in the same canon, went. It is therefore no surprise that tanneer pandals are put up all around Chennai on the 8th day of the Kapali festival when the 63 Nayanmars come out in procession with the Lord.
The Members of Parliament Local Area Development (MPLAD) scheme was introduced in 1993 to enable MPs to create useful community assets in their constituencies. Currently, each MP is allotted Rs. 5 crores per year, that is, Rs. 25 crores per term which is a substantial sum of public money to be placed at the disposal of an individual.
MPs are expected to recommend projects, based on local needs and the district authority is made responsible for due diligence, approval, selection of implementation agency and execution. The Government of India releases directly to the district authority the annual entitlement of Rs. 5 crores in two equal instalments of Rs. 2.5 crores.
With reference to the letter titled red brigade in the last issue (MM, March 1st), I record my complaints to Swiggy and Zomato. I do not expect much action though, because their business model is such that they have little or no control over their delivery persons.
I have the following complaints against the delivery persons.
1)None of them ever follow any traffic rules.
They never wear helmet.
Even if they wear a helmet, it’s never buckled.
During early sixties, the private buses I commuted from Poonamallee to Guindy where I boarded the electric train to my college opposite the Madras aerodrome were on the dot. They seldom broke down en route. Only flaw was they raced with one another, as competition was the mantra of free enterprise.
Even today Joseph Dalton Hooker’s monumental 7-volume Flora of British India (1875-1897)1 remains valid and is referred to extensively not only within the Indian subcontinent, but also throughout the world.
During his stay in India, Hooker spent his time in Calcutta and neighbourhood, mostly travelling further north into the Himalaya and its foothills. He explored these natural areas for botanical novelties, since right from a young age he was inspired by his equally remarkable botanist-father William Jackson Hooker. Joseph Hooker’s versatility in the world of natural materials was so profound that he powerfully extends his brilliance in the knowledge of animals and landscapes and geomorphology, further to plants. The Himalayan Journals, subtitled the Notes of a Naturalist in Bengal, the Sikkim, the Nepal Himalaya, and the Khasia Mountains, (1855, John Murray, London) are indeed academic treats to anyone interested in India’s fascinating natural history for the details they provide and for the lucid prose in which the entire volume is presented.